Does where we live affect our happiness?
I was having dinner with my girlfriends one Friday night a few weeks ago and we got into a conversation about the ideal place to live. In a city like Vancouver, where houses that look like crack shacks can sell for over a million dollars, citizens often have to make sacrifices – ultimately between size vs. location – when it comes to buying a home.
When my husband and I were looking to move, we made the decision that location was important and were lucky enough to find a newly converted heritage home two blocks off Commercial Drive, however we actually only own 1/3 of it. The house has been split into 3 units: we live in the front portion of the house on two levels, and there is a garden suite that runs on the basement level, and the another unit at the back of the house (also the top two floors).
At 1200 square feet, it’s the perfect size and we are steps from a vibrant neighbourhood with parks, jazz bars, restaurants, cafes and interesting shops. We could live in a big home in the suburbs, but size is not important to me. Location and neighbourhood are.
More of more, we are hearing that much of one’s happiness is attributed to where they live. Dan Buettner, author of the Blue Zones, teamed up with National Geographic and traveled to parts of the world where people live the longest and report the highest levels of well-being. He discovered that where you live does affect your happiness. Specifically, the happiest places are those where you can move and interact with people:
The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They live in places where they can walk to the store, to their friends house or places of worship, their houses have stairs, they have gardens in their yards.
Car Free Day on Commercial Drive
I am not saying that the suburbs don’t offer the opportunity to move around and walk. But some are better planned than others, with dense, mixed-use neighbourhoods near public transit and shopping districts (i.e North Vancouver, Port Moody, etc.). If you are spending more time in your car than walking, you might want to consider how this affects your lifestyle – specifically how you spend your time and engage with your community.
Living on Commercial Drive, I own a car but I use it maybe twice a week and take public transit, walk and bike the rest of the time. Walking out my front door, I often run into my neighbours, talk to them while they walk their dogs or have a drink with them on their front porches.
Life isn’t in our cars or big homes. Experiencing life and community is getting out there on the sidewalks, in the bars, the parks, and on the bike paths (..and especially on the bus!).
P.S. Blue Zones also advocates a “Wine @ 5” rule. Can’t argue with that:
Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 drinks per day, with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
- urbanmechanic reblogged this from thiscitylife
- urbanmechanic likes this
- ciutats reblogged this from thiscitylife
- fosseaxil likes this
- dukesexsmith likes this
- irishboyinlondon likes this
- thiscitylife posted this